here, but the illustrated version is an even more delightful read.
Melisande is a princess born to a rather wise king and a very typical queen. In discussing their daughter's christening party, the royal couple decides not to have a celebration since whenever a fairy is not invited - and one among the many is inevitably always forgotten - that fairy places a curse on the child. The parents' decision rather than pleasing the fae of the kingdom serves to anger them all. Luckily, Melisande survives with only a single curse placed upon here - she is bald. The young child grows up to be exceedingly kind and lovely and has very little regret of missing locks, but as she ages her mother decides she should have hair.
Using an overdue wish from her father's fairy godmother, Melisande wishes for hair and on her mother's urging gains a golden yard which grows an inch every day and grows twice as fast every time it is cut. The wise king is the only one who initially sees folly in this wish as, "he had a mathematical mind, and could do the sums about the grains of wheat on the chessboard, and the nails in the horse's shoes, in his Royal head without any trouble at all." And Melisande's ever growing hair becomes not just a source of amusement in the tale, but a great lesson in numbers for young learners as well!
As the gift becomes quite unmanageable, princes are summoned to the kingdom to solve the hairy dilemma (couldn't resist!), one comes up with the solution to not cut the hair off the princess but to cut the princess off the hair! What seems an ingenious answer soon proves equally problematic, and once again it is the king who sees why.
"Humph!" said the King, who had a logical mind. And during breakfast he more than once looked anxiously at his daughter. When they got up from breakfast the Princess rose with the rest, but she rose and rose and rose, till it seemed as though there would never be an end of it. The Princess was nine feet high.I won't give away the ending of the story (and only said as much as I did because of the cover image with a rather giant princess) but it really is a clever and charming tale. For young fans of the recent Disney hit movie Tangled, Melisande is a great story with a similar long-hair problem as Rapunzel and with humorous twists and turns to be encountered as it is solved.
"I feared as much," said the King, sadly. "I wonder what will be the rate of progression. You see," he said to poor Florizel, "when we cut the hair off, it grows — when we cut the Princess off, she grows. I wish you had happened to think of that!"
2011 Fairy Tale Challenge (5 of 12) begun by Tif at Tif Talks Books. Feel free to share your thoughts about Melisande in the comments section or link up with your own post featuring your favorite Children's Book or Fairy Tale!